Beta Tester Incentives

Signing up for a beta-testing campaign is an opportunity for beta testers to preview software that advance the state-of-the-art of technology.
“Most beta testers get involved because they have a passion for software and technology. In return, most only request that their feedback be acknowledged. For the most part, this recognition doesn’t require any incentive (though a free T-shirt to say thank you never hurts).” (from an article in FastCompany).

The best incentive for a beta test is usually the software product being tested. However, collaborative research projects are not commercial projects and beta testers are not consumers but probably researchers themselves or innovators or at best early adopters interested in cutting-edge technologies. Nevertheless, do not assume that love for cool technologies has no limits and that beta testers have no busy agendas.

Therefore, when you ask IT professionals to direct some of their expertise, time and energy to your software, it is good policy to offer something in exchange. Incentives are a great way to show your appreciation but must be earned. Here are few guidelines for incentives:

  • Must appeal to developers: T-shirts or tech goodies are OK.
  • A digital reward is easy to deliver: a buying voucher at an online shop for example.
  • Recognition of beta testers as contributors on your project website and newsletter is well appreciated.
  • Polling all the reward budget into one super lottery prize is a possibility.

You need to plan a budget for the rewards. Fortunately, beta testers may be IT professionals but when acting as beta testers they are not contracted as IT professionals, so a limited budget may be fine.

Other ideas can be found in the reading material about rewarding beta testers in the Readings section.